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West Darfur Victims Committee calls on Sudan govt and UN to protect civilians

May 3 - 2021 EL GENEINA
El Geneina Victims Committee during a press conference (Social media)
El Geneina Victims Committee during a press conference (Social media)

The El Geneina Victims Committee has called on the UN Security Council to send forces to protect the people in West Darfur, citing the inability of the Sudanese regular forces to protect civilians, and accusing some members of the regular forces of being involved in the attacks.

The committee representing the victims of violent attacks on various neighbourhoods in El Geneina and the adjacent camps for the displaced in early April, expressed their concerns in a press conference in the West Darfur capital on Sunday.

They demanded “the immediate withdrawal of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the joint Third Front Forces“ from West Darfur, accusing them of joining the attacks by Arab tribesmen on El Geneina in mid-January and again in early April attacking civilians during the El Geneina events.

The Victims Committee stressed the need for immediate intervention by the federal government and the international community to stop the violence in West Darfur, which it said amounted to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and genocide.

Ibrahim Suleiman, a leading member of the committee, stressed the need to empower the army and police, especially the Central Reserve Police (Abu Teira), with the necessary means and assistance to fulfil their role.

He also called on the government to send humanitarian and medical aid, in addition to housing, clothing and compensation for the losses of the people.

He called on international organisations and UN agencies to intervene urgently. He stressed the necessity of deploying forces along the border with Chad to prevent infiltration of more bandits.

According to the Victims Committee, 147 people were killed during the attacks on El Geneina in early April, among them 28 women, 35 children, and 23 people with special needs. 285 others were wounded, and 23 people went missing, including three women, seven children, and 11 people with special needs.

During the press conference, a woman member of the committee indicated that “verbal and sexual harassment and attempted rape of women continues while they were trying to collect what was left of their burned homes”.

She mentioned a lack of basic health services in the shelters, citing open and street births, and the increasing number of miscarriages. She cautioned that women and children are severely traumatised, along with panic and fear. The government and organisations have intervened to address the psychological effects of the El Geneina events on women and children.

The material losses amount to 165 vehicles amounted, 146 rickshaws, 25 tractors, and 512 donkey carts. 2,399 heads of livestock were stolen.

The number of houses totally and partially affected by burning and plundering reached 42,399, in addition to 2,473 shops, and 713 sorghum mills and oil presses.

Suleiman said that the total losses in sorghum and millet amounted to 12,030 tons, and fava beans 9,926 tons. Other food losses haven’t been inventoried yet.

He described the humanitarian and security conditions in El Geneina as “fragile” and denounced the absence of the West Darfur Ministry of Health and its failure to provide primary psychological support and health education for those affected in the shelters, the lack of health centres inside the accommodation centres, which led to increased suffering.

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